The Kingston Striders youth skaters have had a busy month, with several regional wins and a national title to show for it. In the meantime, volunteers with the club are busy preparing to co-host the Ontario Provincial Short Track Speed Skating Championship on February 25-26 in Kingston.
On February 11, seven skaters represented Kingston in a silver level regional ability meet in Brockville. Coming home with podium finishes were Paul Sturgeon, 16, gold medalist in the Bravo grouping, along with 7-year-olds Seamus Keiley (gold) and William Petznick (bronze) in the Hotel grouping. Four other skaters posted personal bests: Chloe Goss, Brennoch Keiley, Suleman Khan, and Julia Patterson.
On the same weekend, 12-year-old Kingston skater Aliya Howard represented the province of Ontario at the Canadian Age Class Long Track Championship in Fort St. John, B.C. Howard smashed her personal best seeding times, finishing the meet with one gold, two silver and one bronze medal for her efforts in race distances ranging from 100m to 3000m. Howard capped off the weekend by earning the title of Canadian National Champion, with a points total narrowly ahead of Maïka Robertson of Quebec. Team Ontario was honoured as the most improved team at the competition, based on total points earned relative to last year’s showing, an indication of the strength of the performances of all 11 skaters who represented the province.Just on the horizon for the Striders: co-hosting the annual Ontario Short Track Championship at Cataraqui Community Centre on February 25-26. A small club, the Striders have joined forces with members of the St. Lawrence Rapids Club out of Brockville to bring the penultimate provincial short track event to Kingston. Top ranking skaters aged 9-29 from around the province will assemble for this meet, vying for provincial titles and a place on Team Ontario (short track). Kingston will be represented by three outstanding young athletes: Howard, Sarah Ball (13), and Sarah Shires (16), all of whom are ranked within the top three in their respective age classes. The Striders competitive skaters are coached by Kelly Ball. The provincial championship meet is open to the public with no fee for entry. Mayor Mark Gerretson and Town Crier Chris Wyman will welcome the skaters to Kingston at the opening ceremony, slated to take place at 8:45 am Saturday morning. Racing follows immediately and continues each day until 4:00 pm.
Three Kingston speed skaters brought home medals at the Ontario Silver Regionals Meet #13 held March 3 in Ottawa.
The Kingston squad was led by Gold Medal winner Chloe Goss who competed against fourteen other athletes of similar ability and who ranged in age from 6 to 11. The Silver Medal in the same ability class was received by Ian Ramzy taking part in his first competition as a speed skater. In an ability class comprised of fourteen 6-9 year old athletes, Seamus Keiley was a Bronze Medal winner.
Close behind the medal winners in fourth place finishes were Nicholas Symons and Julia Patterson. Other Kingston speed skaters who also successfully completed the five different races involving three different distances were Alexander Arellano, Sarah Ficko, Brennoch Keiley, William Petznick, Mathieu Symons and Paul Sturgeon.
The Ontario Speed Skating Association sanctioned competition was hosted by the Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating Club.